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Hospital Auxiliary builds on history of support for KershawHealth

Posted: June 26, 2012 7:38 p.m.
Updated: June 27, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Nearly two years before the establishment of what is now KershawHealth in Camden, a group of women gathered to raise funds for the building of what was then referred to as the Burdell Hospital.

The Hospital Auxiliary has worked to help assist KershawHealth since the auxiliary was formed in early 1912. Next year, the Hospital Auxiliary will celebrate the 100 year-anniversary of the establishment of a hospital in Camden with the KershawHealth Foundation.

Capt. John Burdell left “a handsome legacy” of property for the future establishment of a hospital in Kershaw County, according to the History of the Auxiliary of Kershaw Health, compiled by current auxiliary board member and scholarship chair Mary Sargeant. That hospital is now KershawHealth, and the Woman’s Auxiliary of Burdell Hospital is now the Hospital Auxiliary of KershawHealth.

“One of our board members said to me long before this hospital was in view, ‘If the women get behind the movement, the hospital will come. You have proved them right,’” said Dr. W. J. Burdell, son of the hospital’s first benefactor, Capt. Jon Burdell, at a gala reception on December 1, 1913, to celebrate the opening of Camden Hospital.

The building, originally on Fair Street, burned down in 1921, but immediately rebuilt. In 1958, the Kershaw Memorial Hospital was built at Haile’s and Robert’s streets. Thirty-seven years later, in 1996, the hospital changed its name to Kershaw County Medical Center and opened “healthcare stations” in Lugoff, Elgin and Bethune. To better reflect the “comprehensive healthcare system” the hospital was becoming, its name was changed to KeshawHealth in 2009.

Mary Clark has been the president of the Hospital Auxiliary for 10 years. Under her direction, the auxiliary runs a gift shop, open seven days a week, located at the main entrance at KershawHealth. The auxiliary conducts fundraising activities such as one-day sales, an annual golf-tournament and Lights of Love, which all help provide scholarships and help KershawHealth.

Each year, the Hospital Auxiliary awards more than 20 scholarships to local students pursuing careers in the healthcare fields, assisted various KershawHealth departments obtain equipment not covered in their annual budget, including a lithotripter and a fetal monitor and a pediatric bed; host various parties for KershawHealth patients and staff members. It has also held annual graduation reception’s for the Applied Technology Education Campus’s (ATEC) nursing program.

“It’s been tough on them (KershawHealth staff) for the last few years, so they deserve it,” current Auxiliary board member Linda Branham said, who has been with the hospital since 1972 and has previously served as director of volunteer services. “We have board members from all walks of life. We have a great time. We just get along so well.”

Clark said the auxiliary’s mission hasn’t changed since she’s been a member of the board. Membership has increased and board will continue to work on ways to increase membership.

“Everything that the board has done since I’ve been president has been fun. It’s been rewarding to see a group of ladies come together and work diligently,” Clark said.

Members of the Hospital Auxiliary board are volunteers who meet once a month. 

Although the group is still planning its centennial celebration, which will be held early next year in conjunction with the hospital’s centennial celebration, the ladies are thinking of having a “tea” to honor their founding members of the Auxiliary.

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